A Biographical Sketch of My Conversion Experience (Part 6) by Joe Lamay1
No More Flashbacks for Joe
Then, in late November of 1981, at a Thursday night church service, a visiting preacher named Dick Mills was the guest speaker. One of the things he was known for was pointing people out in the congregation and speaking to them what came to his mind…usually with a few scripture quotations. At this time, I had never spoken to a soul about the paralyzing, lonely fear of flashbacks that I had been experiencing over the previous seven months. Dick Mills asked me to stand up. In trepidation, I did. He proceeded to quote a few verses having to do with leaving the past behind. And then he, or should I say a loving heavenly Father, stunned me by saying, “No more flashbacks for Joe!” Then he had the 120 or so people who were there say in unison, “No more flashbacks for Joe, no more flashbacks for Joe, no more flashbacks for Joe!” I slumped into my seat overwhelmed with the tender love and care of God the Father, because this was the one tormenting secret I thought I had to bear all alone. But to realize that God used that gift of the Spirit through some guy who did not know me from a hole-in-the-wall, in order to let me know that He understands everything that I had been going through (and that He would totally deliver me from this mental torment), overwhelmed me with His personal care and love. My hope intensified all the more and my love for God the Father who adopted me through Jesus Christ was more real than I ever imagined it could be.
Assurance of Salvation
The clarity of what I read in the Bible was vivid and self-authenticating to me. I had to be the happiest twenty-year-old kid on earth. All my marbles were banked on the message of Jesus Christ. I had, by the grace of God, come to believe with all my heart that he alone is the savior of lost sinners. It was he who, as the eternal Son of God, became a human being in order to be my sacrifice and take upon himself the just wrath of God against my sin. It was Jesus alone who lived the perfect, sinless life, in order that his righteousness before God would be put to the account of a wretched, God-belittling Joe Lamay. Jesus was the most authentic man of all time. He was brutally tortured on a Roman cross, killed, truly dead, cold and hardened. And then on the third day was physically raised to new bodily life forevermore.
Ephesians 2:1-7 describes what happened to me perfectly:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all [especially Joe Lamay] once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
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